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7. A Chorus Line (1975)
Music by Marvin Hamlisch
Lyrics by Edward Kleban
Book by James Kirkwood Jr. and Nicholas Dante
The supporting players take center stage in this backstage musical, a valentine to theater performers featuring a glut of memorable solos and a high-kicking finale that remains one singular sensation.
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4. Oklahoma! (1943)
Music by Richard Rodgers
Lyrics & Book by Oscar Hammerstein II
Rodgers & Hammerstein's unlikely hit ushered in a golden age of American musicals, boosted by infectious melodies such as ''Oh, What a Beautiful Morning,'' ambitious dance numbers (including a 15-minute mini-ballet in the second act), and a mature love story that doesn't rely mainly on jokes.
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3. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (1979)
Music & Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by Hugh Wheeler
Attend the tale of Sweeney Todd, a Grand Guignol fable featuring a murderous barber, his cannibalistic sidekick, and some of the twistiest lyrics and most challenging melodies ever to worm their way into your memory.
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1. Guys and Dolls (1950)
Music & Lyrics by Frank Loesser
Book by Joe Swerling and Abe Burrows
Forget the 1950 movie, which miscasts Marlon Brando as a crooning gambler named Sky Masterson. This is an almost perfect show featuring parallel love stories and a winning big-city setting.